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The entire world has a sea turtle population issue what with plastic pollution and fishing gear entanglement and toxic red tides and dangerous hurricanes threatening their numbers.

That's why Thailand is trying everything it can to protect the sea turtle nests on Thai beaches.

It knows how important every hatched egg is these days.

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According to The Nation, a national marine park in Phuket is offering cash rewards for people who report turtle nests to authorities. Once they've been alerted, park officials will relocate the eggs so they can hatch safely.

At that point, the babies will be returned to the ocean to face all the other potentially dangerous parts of a sea turtle's life.

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Officials made sure to note that the reward will only be given to people to alert authorities and then wait for their action. It's both illegal and potentially deadly for the sea turtles to have inexperienced beachgoers try to move them without proper help.

The reward for finding a nest is 10,000 Thai baht, or about $300 USD. But The Nation reported that the price for finding a leatherback sea turtle is double that.

That's likely because of how endangered the leatherback is in general, but also specifically in Thailand.

Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

According to a December 2017 Thai PBS article, leatherback sea turtles hadn't been spotted laying eggs on Thai beaches since 2013. Part of the reason why their numbers have fallen so much is that, in addition to the threats of fishing and habitat destruction, egg poaching is a very real problem in Thailand, Thai PBS reported.

The Nation noted that all sea turtle species are protected in Thailand and poaching is illegal. But the eggs still sell on the black market for a high price.

They reportedly go for around 300 Thai baht per egg or $9 USD.

Wikimedia Commons/Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

That's why the Thai marine park went higher. The reward for telling authorities is now much more than selling them on the black market would fetch — and it's a legal way to make money.

This isn't the first time the reward system has been implemented, but it's the first time the cash value has been so high, according to The Nation.

It is frustrating that people seemingly need a reward to help protect an endangered species, but honestly we'll take what we can get at this point.

The turtles need protection and if this works for Thailand, that's all that matters.

Sea turtle safety comes first.

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Add your name right now to make a difference for imperiled marine life and our oceans with Oceana.

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